The Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador’s work with cultural heritage has earned the recognition of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The Heritage Foundation has been given observer status by UNESCO, which gives them the qualifications required to provide advisory services relating to intangible cultural heritage.
“The work we are doing in Newfoundland and Labrador on safeguarding our living heritage is being recognized internationally,” said Derrick Dalley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.
“In fact, we have the opportunity of becoming a global leader in the field of intangible cultural heritage. The accreditation through UNESCO is a step in this process.”
With this status, the foundation could be asked to evaluate nominations to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a list similar to World Heritage Sites, but intended for cultural treasures. In the past, UNESCO has recognized Chinese shadow puppetry, flamenco dancing, and the traditional Mediterranean diet as examples of the word's intangible cultural heritage.
Dr. Jerry Pocius, chair of the Heritage Foundation’s advisory committee for intangible cultural heritage, the designation confirms the foundation’s status as a leader in Canada working to foster the living traditions of ordinary people.
“Having the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador accredited as an official observer of UNESCO's ongoing work in the field of intangible cultural heritage is an honour,” Pocius said.
“It enables the province to share successes here with other groups from around the world, and confirms our status as one of the leaders in Canada working to foster the living traditions of ordinary people.”
The heritage foundation’s work with intangible cultural heritage involves a variety of projects such as the Mummer’s Festival held every December in St. John’s. In addition, the foundation is currently working on a project to celebrate the role of “make and break” engines in the province and is also working with communities to collect oral history and place it on Memorial University’s Digital Archives.